Weekly Overview: Focus on 'One Health': Antibiotic Resistance and Foodborne Pathogens

GLOBAL - In the last week, there have been several reports in the news relating to the links between animal health and human health, in particular, on antibiotic resistance and foodborne pathogens.
calendar icon 3 July 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Recently, researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) reported finding some fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli on chicken meat. In response, The Australian Chicken Meat Federation said that these resistant bacteria could not be the result of the use of fluoroquinolone in the poultry industry as fluoroquinolones are not and never have been approved for use in chickens in Australia.

Antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs is an ongoing threat, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a new report showing progress and problems among foodborne germs it tracks.

Whilst expressing some concerns, CDC commented that most recent data shows that multi-drug resistant Salmonella decreased during the past 10 years and resistance to two important groups of drugs – cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones – remained low in 2012.

Campylobacter resistance to ciprofloxacin remained at 25 per cent, despite FDA’s 2005 withdrawal of its approval for the use of enrofloxacin in poultry. Both these drugs are classed as fluoroquinolones. And although fluoroquinolone resistance remained low in 2012, Salmonella enteritidis – the most common Salmonella type and one sometimes found in poultry – accounted for 50 per cent of infections resistant to the fluoroquinolone drug nalidixic acid.

This week, UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, called for global action to tackle the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics.

In another update, CDC reports 251 confirmed infections with Salmonella in people linked to the handling of live poultry from one supplier in Ohio.

A new study at the University of California Davis has identified risky food safety practices in home kitchens, including under-cooking chicken and inadequate hand-washing.

New research published by the Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom gives the most detailed picture yet of how many people suffer from food poisoning in the UK every year and how much food poisoning can be attributed to different foods.

The report finds that poultry meat is the food linked to the most cases of food poisoning and that Campylobacter is the most common pathogen in foods.

And finally on foodborne pathogens, contrary to popular belief, it appears that the foodborne pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni, is not a harmless commensal in chickens but can cause disease in some breeds of poultry.

University of Liverpool researchers have found that one breed of chickens showed damage to the gut mucosa and developed diarrhoea after an experimental infection with Campylobacter.

Turning to news of H7N9 influenza, four human cases of H7N9 flu have been confirmed in Taiwanese patients, all of them after they returned from visiting mainland China. In Egypt, a man is seriously ill after contracting H5N1 flu.

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